Oyedepo, 40 Sacked Pastors and the Distorted Media

Recently, my attention was drawn to a trending news headline: “Bishop Oyedepo sacks 40 pastors for low income from their branches”. On a closer look, I realized that there is something wrong. This caption is misleading and untrue. We may not agree with the method used by the church, but a false narrative is a danger to everyone.

Unfortunately, some bloggers and media personnel have insisted on pushing the wrong narrative because most of them are paid to look for how to paint selected ministers of God and churches in a bad light. They are agents of some politicians and political parties for pushing antichurch narratives aimed at social engineering. The earlier we understood that the better for us.

In the video from which the news was curled, the pastor said the reason he was disengaged was the fact that he did not meet up with Church Growth Index. Evidently, there was an objective yardstick for measuring what was expected from him. This he was aware of before his employment. That is to say he was given expectation and he knew the outcome if same was not met. If he wasn’t comfortable with that, there was no need taking the employment. Complaining now after the terms of his agreement were followed to letter amounts to shifting the goalpost in the middle of the game while playing on the emotions of the masses.

The gentleman in the video also orally added that the church didn’t want to operate at a loss and that by that they meant that the branch he pastored should be able to generate enough fund to take care of him. I do not see how this translates into sending money to the headquarters. At any rate this is a modest and prudent expectation. So if the income generated by the church couldn’t take care of the pastor’s needs, who should do so? Evidently the church didn’t want to rob Peter to pay Paul hence they needed to either bring in someone else who could do what he couldn’t do or simply close the branch.

Some people have tried to argue that the pastor was called by God and as such, the church shouldn’t “uncall” him. Such jejune and infantile arguments are product of people trying to be teachers in subject they know nothing about. The church is as physical as is spiritual. While the church is a spiritual entity–the body of Christ governed by the word of God–it is also an NGO just like any other NGO and governed in that regard by the Laws of Nigeria–including the CAMA and other employment laws. The pastor’s calling is spiritual while his employment is legal and physical and subject to terms and employment laws. If the terms of his employment were not met, then he was to expect the agreed result. It would be unfair for him to expect the church to continue to honour an agreement that he has fundamentally breached.

As for his spiritual calling (if he has any) that one doesn’t change. He might have been called by God, no one is arguing that. But he might not have been called to Winner’s Chapel. Terminating his employment doesn’t amount to uncalling him. They are mutually exclusive. He could either go and use his spiritual calling to start his own church or humble himself withing Winners Chapel and learn from other pastors. Who knows, he may prove himself and get another employment over time. He could even use his calling to pastor a cell group or a house fellowship. But paid employment is a different ball game entirely

One On Air Person has argued that even Jesus did not sack Judas after he betrayed Jesus. Nothing could more betray a distorted understanding of the scripture or a deliberate wresting of same than such insipid argument. After Judas betrayed Jesus, he didn’t even give Jesus an opportunity of sacking him. He walked out on Jesus at the Last Super to go betray Him and never came back. The next time Jesus would see him, he was leading a pack of soldiers who came to arrest Jesus–effectively ending the physical organization. So there was nothing from which he could be sacked even if Jesus was to sack him.

Apart from that, Judas was not in a paid employment so the issue of sacking him doesn’t even arise. He was simply a volunteer who stuck around at his own terms. There was a time Jesus gave a teaching and more than 5,000 disciples and 60 volunteers withdrew from him. Peter and others stayed back at their own terms. While Peter stayed back because of the Word of Life, Judas stayed back because he wanted to continue stealing from Jesus. One may argue that Jesus didn’t send him away despite his stealing. Yes, Jesus didn’t send him away because he was relevant for his nuisance value. He was chosen to betray Jesus and his tolerated evil traits were relevant for fulfilling that mission.

In conclusion, I’d advise people to be careful of those who’s only aim is to pull others down and dent hard earned reputation in the process of riding on same to gather clouts. Hate Bishop Oyedepo all you want, that’s your cup of tea. But be weary of distorted narratives. They only produce ill wind that blows no one any good

Right Mindset to Challenges and Competition in Ministry.

A lot of ministers operate as though they sent themselves on errand. They get jittery with the successes of others and they compete, fight and tear down others. That’s wrong! If you’re truly a minister, you must understand that you’re sent by someone and He has the interest of the ministry at heart more than you can ever do. He’s committed to it’s success and safety. An attack on the church is an attack on Christ (Acts 9:1-5). So why behave like the worshipers of Baal who must fight for him?

I’ve learnt both by instructions and experience that if I can only preserve the anointing, the anointing would preserve me. I’ve also learnt that all things have a way of working together for good for us if those of us that are called according to God’s purpose truly love God. Anyway, many people love the ministry and not God. Worse still, there are those whose gods are their bellies (Phil 3:18-19) so their paranoia is understood. But if you’d truly love God, you’d be just fine

So, I’m just going to quote here what I consider the best attitude towards ministry even when we feel opposed and attacked by others. If we really believe in the scripture, this should be our mindset. Paul stated it clearly below:

“I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.

“It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.

“So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on! And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done.

“I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose”.

Philippians 1:12‭-‬21 MSG

THE PASTOR, THE PASTURE AND THE PACK OF WOLVES

This morning the Lord woke me up with a word from Joh 11:7-8.

“Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?”

Jesus needs to raise Lazarus from the dead, but He would have to pass through the murderous Jews. Only few days before they had sought to stone him to death. He narrowly escaped death. Yet, once and again, he is going undeterred through the wolfpack because of one sheep that needs to be saved.

As pastors/shepherd, we feed the sheep, tend the sheep and lead the sheep. But our duty post is amongst the wolves (Matt 10:16). We’d go through the wolfpack sorting, seeking and saving the sheep. That’s what our call entails. They’d bark at you. They’d attack you. Some of such may be manifested through the very vessel you seek to save. Look beyond the insult, the betrayal, the denial, the connivance and all the manifestation of the enemy. Those works of the flesh manifested by that brother or that sister are the barking of the wolves. Deep down beyond those howls is a precious Lazarus–the precious soul for which Christ died and who is now embalmed with sin behind the stone wall of religion, doubt and unbelief . He’s precious to God.

Pastor, it is time to square your shoulder, and chin up. Dare the wolves, run the gauntlet, and save the perishing. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong [and] Let all your things be done with charity”. (1Co 16:13-14). If you remember that Jesus paid the ultimate prize for them, if you knew how precious they are before God, if you have respect unto the recompence of reward, you’d know it is worth all the efforts.

I really don’t think pastors should involve themselves with pity party. To be forewarned is to be fore armed. The good news is that you’re a sheep yourself. How’s that a good new for a sheep working in the midst of wolves, you may ask. It is good news because you’re a sheep of the Great Bishop of our souls (1Pet 2:25). He’s with you always saving you from all the works of the enemy. Nothing shall by any means hurt you. He’s working in you that which is well pleasing unto Him(Heb 13:21). “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1Cor 1:8). He’d confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus made us to understand that all you need to do is to walk in the light of day. Walking in love, led by the Word is walking in the Light. If you do you’d not stumble no matter the enemy’s efforts. If you ever find yourself stumbling over the huddle of self-pity, heartbreak, disappointment, malice, vendetta, or any work of the flesh; if you find yourself hating or cursing the sheep; if you find yourself quitting before time, if you find yourself burning out, there’s only one cause: there’s darkness in your heart and you’re walking in darkness. If you put on the Lord Jesus and make no provision for the flesh to gratify the lust thereof, no amount of satan’s effort can fell you. the devil doesn’t have the capacity to make you stumble neither do the wolves. All they do is to tempt the darkness in you. If you’ve not shed the light of love in any area of your life, that area would respond to the howl of the wolf and you’d find yourself grovelling at their feet.

Walk in love brother, look unto Jesus the author and the finisher of your faith. Be clad in meekness and refuse to loose focus. No matter what they throw at you, respond with the energies of love and prayer. In the process, stir the Spirit and your soul till you groan in yourself and groan in the Spirit. Eventually the dead shall hear your voice, son of God and he shall live. Amen

MY LORD AND MY LOVE

Everytime that the stock of my life I do take
I would look in my heart for my love for my Lord
And each night that I muse on my walk and my works
What a debt of God’s love I have yet to repay

Let the day never come that I cease from Your love
O my Lord Let my heart never stray from your love
Let this one thing my Lord, be my lot Lord I pray
That I live everyday of my life in your Love

I would wait on my Lord, Loved Unseen, yes my Love
For His love I would live and could die for His love
Oh for grace just to live and to thrive on His love
Till He comes for His love or He calls for His love

Till some day I would rise and before Him I’d stand
Fully clad in His love I would stand unashamed
And I’d look in the eyes of the Lord I have loved
And be raptured in love beyond words, time and space

BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness

Eph 6:14 

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love…

1Thes 5:8

The world with sin and Satan seek always to attract, distract and attack us, so that we may conform to their pattern and settle in their mould. If you must remain undaunted, you must guard your heart jealousy, for out of it is the issue of life. The body armour (or breastplate) of righteousness is specially designed to help you in this regard.

Righteousness is given to us as a gift as soon as we believe in the resurrection of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9-10). Beyond being ascribed with righteousness, it is your duty to put on (like  you’d do a body armour) that righteousness. When you do, it becomes a defence against all forms of attacks (Isaiah 54:17). But until you do, God may acknowledge your righteousness, yet it wouldn’t help you any more than a bullet proof vest in its suitcase could help a soldier in the battlefield.

The way to put on righteousness is to be conscious of your righteousness at all times and manifest righteousness. You are said to have put on righteousness when faith and love manifest in your thoughts, talk and walk. When you acknowledge, reciprocate and manifest the love of God with all your heart and consciously ensure that your thoughts, words and actions corroborate what God says, about you because you firmly believe His testimonies, you are said to have put on the breastplate or body armour of righteousness. That’s why in 1Thes 5:8 the breastplate of righteousness is described as faith and love.

It may not always be easy to do this. But if you fix your attention on the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, nothing in this world would deter you. You will always put on the body armour of righteousness. This was the secret of the Colossian church’s love and hope (Col. 1:4-5). It will help you too.

LET US PRAY

Thank you Father for your love in our hearts and the gift of faith given to us

I love you Lord with all my heart. My life is a manifestation of your testimony. I put on love and faith as a body amour. My heart is protected from demonic and sensual suggestions in Jesus Name

Father help your church to fix his attention on our blessed hope always that we may manifest love and faith thereby putting on the breastplate of righteousness in Jesus Name

FURTHER STUDIES

Colossians 1:4-6

GRACE WHEREIN WE STAND: The Helmet of Salvation 2

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do

1 Thessalonians 5: 8-11

It is bliss to know that one day; our vile bodies shall be changed into a glorious one at the appearing of our blessed Lord Jesus. But beyond the redemption of our bodies, we also have (as a hope of salvation) the fact that we shall be saved from the tribulation that is to try this world. Tribulation is coming to this world, brothers and sister. The world would mourn and be super sorry. They’d weep and wish for death when the wrath of God shall be unleashed on them. But we have a blessed hope: We are not made for wrath. God knows how to deliver us from the tribulation that is to come (2Pet 2:9). By the rapture, we shall be removed from this damned world to be with our Lord in bliss if we endure the present hardness that may come our way to try our loyalty to our loving Master.

Serving God and living the true Christian life doesn’t always appeal to reason. It isn’t reasonable, for example, to give your widow’s mite (your all in your “poverty”) to an already prosperous ministry or minister. But such is divine wisdom if done in love as led by the Spirit. It is more reasonable to the worldly-wise man to give, in pride, to the poor than to break your alabaster box at the feet of Jesus. But that could be a Spirit-inspired wisdom (not only to redeem your time on earth) but also to crest your name on the chariot of the gospel and the pillar of God’s Temple (Matt 26:6-13). The devil would taunt you (for sure) with the seeming stupidity of in such divine wisdom. That is why you need the helmet of salvation.

The helmet of salvation gives us the assurance that if we suffer with Jesus, we shall also reign with Him (2Tim 2:12). This protects our minds from the proud arguments against our life of love-based service. We are sure that if we keep the word of His patience, He shall also keep us from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Rev. 3:10). Thus we are not ashamed to bear in our bodies, the mark of our Lord Jesus. We don’t mind the crown of thorns we gladly embrace the cross. “[We] gave our back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: we hid not [our] face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help [us]; therefore shall [we] not be confounded: therefore have [we] set [our] faces like a flint, and [we] know that [we] shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth [us]” (Isaiah 50:6-8). Glory to God!

LET US PRAY

Dear Father, thank you for our blessed hope of salvation which is the helmet to protect us from the proud arguments of the enemy

I pledge allegiance to the Lord Jesus. I’d serve in love, in faith and in hope because I know, I shall not be put to shame.

Father, let the hope of our salvation be made clear to your children that we may remain true despite the challenges we face.

 

FURTHER STUDIES

1Thessalonians 4 & 5

GRACE WHEREIN WE STAND: The Helmet of Salvation

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Eph 6:17

Apart from the salvation of our spirits which we received at the new birth and the salvation of the soul which is continually appropriated as we progressively learn of Christ, there is also the salvation of our bodies. It refers to the moment in which our bodies shall be transformed within a twinkling of the eye at the time of Rapture (1Cor 15:51-57). We are yet to achieve this, but we have it as a hope–the hope of salvation (Romans 8:23-25). . If we are faithful in making our election sure; if we are faithful in working out the salvation of our souls, Jesus will come and suddenly grant us the salvation of our bodies.  This is what we are to wear as a helmet. The Holy Spirit through the same Apostle Paul clarifies it in 1Thes 5:8. 

There are many times in which the devil will send his darts against our heads—the centre of intellectualism and reasoning. He will ask you why you are not enjoying the things of this world like others are doing. You’d see yourself as though you are denied the good things of the earth. You must be prepared for this dearly beloved. In fact you will be denied  justice and God says you should simply commit yourself to God. You shall be slapped on the one cheek and Jesus says you are to turn the other—no more revenge (Mat 5:38-44 MSG).

To an ordinary man, the demands of the Christian life may seem unreasonable. You might even be called a fool by the worldly wise man if you are to fulfill these conditions. If you must live the blessed Christian life as expected by our Master, Jesus, you definitely need an armour so the devil doesn’t shoot at your head to make your head rule over you. That armor is called the HELMET OF SALVATION. It actually is the hope of salvation. It is that which helps you to remain true to our Master and His word when doing so doesn’t seem reasonable. If you must guard your mind and keep it firm such that you remain standing and not be distracted or dissuaded by the things the world throws at you, you need to constantly be assured of the hope of salvation. It is this confident assurance of our glorious inheritance (which is the joy set before us) that can make you dare the world, ditch its fame and dare its flames. If we did not have this hope; if in this world alone we have our hope, then we are of all men most miserable. But glory to God, we are most glorious because Christ in us is our Hope of Glory. Fill your heart with the consciousness of this blessed hope and stand true to Christ till the end

LET US PRAY

Thank you Father because your grace has given me all that I need to stand true to you no matter what comes my way

I put on the helmet of salvation. My eyes are fixed on the joy set before me. I am able to withstand and outlive the evil day because the Spirit and grace of Jesus strengthens me from the inside

Father, I pray for your church that you would keep us focused on the joy set before us and that you would strengthen us with might by your spirit in our inner man that we may remain true to thee

FURTHER STUDIES

Matthew 5:38-44

GRACE WHEREIN WE STAND: Now Stand

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:13

It is a terrible presumption to think that a Christian cannot fall. The scriptures say, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”. (1Cor 10:12). We’ve already explained (in previous episodes) how a person can fall. Of course, grace can keep you from falling. A Christian only falls when he falls from grace. If he falls from grace, he’s sure to be fallen much like a soldier that fell from a jet is sure to be a fallen soldier. 

All the hordes of darkness are lined up against the saint. They are powerless against us because we’ve been delivered from their authorities (Col 1:12-13) and the devil’s power over us destroyed (Heb 2:14-15). However, they are armed with wiles (cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery or stratagems) by which they hope to lure you from your sure ground of grace. Such times are called the days of adversity. So they keep sending suggestions backed with the lying tongue of facts that are appreciated by the flesh or sensory perceptions. So if you walk in the flesh, they’d appear real and true. But in truth, they are phantoms. You’d discover them to be non-existing if you walk in the spirit. 

One of the reasons why we are able to stand in grace is because grace has provided for us, all that we need to stand. Our theme scriptures refer to them as the amour of God. By them, you can neutralize all the wiles of the enemy. Because once clad with them, you’d no longer walk in the flesh (living by sensory perceptions); you’d walk in the spirit (living by the spirit). This way, you’d outlive the day of adversity and remain standing when it’s all been said and done. Many Christians fall because they refuse to use the armour that grace has given to them

Paul was a success because, like he said,  “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1Cor. 15:10).  

I do not frustrate the grace of God“. (Gal 2:21)

Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily”. (Col 1:29)

You too must make use of all that grace has given you so as not to frustrate the grace of God. “We then, as workers together with [God], beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2Cor. 6:1). Put on the whole armour of God. If you do, you’d never fail. In subsequent teachings, we’d begin to explain each of the listed armour. But for now, make up your mind to ensure that the grace of God towards you is not in vain. Stand in the grace wherein we stand

LET US PRAY

Father thank you for the amour supplied by grace to enable us to stand

I declare that I do not frustrate the grace of God. I make use of all the grace and all that grace gives and by then I stand firm till the end in Jesus name

Father help your children to maximize grace and the gifts of grace that we may outlive the evil day in Jesus name

FURTHER STUDIES

Ephesians 6:10-18

GRACE WHEREIN WE STAND: Fruitfulness and Conscience

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

2Petee 1:9 KJV

Do you want to manifest the divine life, live above sin and be fruitful in your walk of faith? You must avoid a defiled conscience (sin consciousness). From our theme scripture one can discern that one of reasons why a Christian may be unfruitful (unable to manifest the divine life) is sin consciousness. “He has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins“. This is caused by our conscience. This defiled conscience makes it impossible for him to approach the throne of grace which is the only place where he can obtain mercy and find grace to help him walk in the spirit so as not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. 

Only the blood of sprinkling can silence the accusation of our consciences. By it God testifies that we are guiltless having accepted our propitiation (and we know that God is greater than our Conscience) (1John 3:19-20). Also, by it we can assure our conscience that the punishment for our sin has been born by the one whose blood is sprinkled on us. We appropriate the blood of sprinkling as we fellowship with the Godhead (1John 1:7). If a christian neglects the place of fellowship  he would soon forget that he was once washed from his old sins (2Pet 1:5-7).

Fellowshipping with the Light and in the Light starts by receiving the knowledge of the love of God. The scriptures testifies of God’s love so we can start from there. As you study the testimony in the scriptures, open your heart to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. He will confirm them to you. You are then to respond to this love of God in prayer and in actions (by loving all men because of the love that God has shown to you). The Scriptures says

My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. This, then, is how we will know that we belong to the truth; this is how we will be confident in God’s presence. If our conscience condemns us, we know that God is greater than our conscience and that he knows everything.
1 John 3:18‭-‬20 GNT

So in essence, walking in love cleanses our consciences and makes our righteousness consciousness to increase. This contributed to your walking in the spirit and bearing his fruits. Walk in love and see how effortlessly you become fruitful.

LET US PRAY

Father thank you for sanctifying my conscience with the blood of sprinkling.

From now on, I walk in love and increase in righteousness consciousness. No more can sin consciousness work against me in Jesus name

Father cause righteousness consciousness to increase in your church in Jesus Name

FURTHER STUDIES

1John 3:14-24